Substantiating the beef industry’s potential as a nature-based solution for climate change

(Debra Murphy/RealAgriculture)

To Kimberly Cornish, regenerating the land is not only our responsibility, it’s our honour.

Cornish is the director of the Food Water Wellness Foundation, an Alberta-based not-for-profit that “has been set up to really advance regenerative agricultural practices, or agricultural practices that are environmentally regenerative.”

In a presentation to attendees of the Alberta Beef Industry Conference, Cornish said the belief in “sustainable” started to become questioned because “to sustain” means to stay the same, and the profitability on Canadian farms is degrading, along with the soil. Hence, she says, the move to regenerate rather than sustain.

Currently, the Food Water Wellness Foundation is focused on the Soil Quantification Project — a move to put numbers to carbon sequestration on farmland in the province.

Using predictive soil mapping, the group has developed a sampling plan, and will take metre-deep cores in eight sites to assess total organic carbon, bulk density, root depth, nutrient levels and microbe populations.

Cornish says their hope is that soil carbon sequestration can be validated, opening the door for value-added production, or “more agricultural producers to be part of an offset system where they could sell carbon to large emitters.”

She believes there is incredible opportunity in agriculture to solve climate change, mitigate drought and flood, and shift into an agricultural production system that’s profitable for farmers and ranchers, and the environment.